Jump to content

Latest On Toronto Stadium (Toronto Star)

Ryan Keay

Recommended Posts


Stadium project appears promising

Old Varsity site likely to get the go-ahead from GTA Liberals University says it will

need $55 million from feds to make



A long-awaited plan to build a new football/soccer stadium at the University of Toronto is looking good, a top federal official said yesterday.

Ottawa has been mostly silent on the issue of helping pay for a new stadium for the Argos and the Canadian Soccer Association in downtown Toronto, but Toronto MP Art Eggleton yesterday said the project "looks quite promising."

Eggleton, one of three representatives on a federal panel looking at Ottawa's possible involvement in the deal, told the Star the Liberal GTA caucus will meet next Tuesday and that he feels good about the project getting the go-ahead. It would still need formal approval by the Paul Martin government, but yesterday's comments by Eggleton are by far the strongest show of support yet by a federal official.

Earlier this year, the Maple Leafs were talking about helping build a facility on the site of the old Varsity Stadium. The complex would have included a practice rink for the Leafs, plus a football/soccer stadium that would be used by the Argos, who now play at the cavernous SkyDome, and by Canada's soccer teams.

The project, though, became unglued when the Leafs backed out two months ago. Eggleton agreed that the departure of the hockey team, which isn't exactly strapped for cash, may have made federal involvement easier to sell in other parts of the country.

"Certainly, to get federal support we need to make sure this is based on the university and providing for community needs," he said. "The Argos can use it, but if federal infrastructure money is to be used it has to be for community use and amateur sport."

Eggleton wouldn't reveal details of a potential federal support plan, but University of Toronto officials have suggested they'd need about $55 million from the government to make the deal work. The province might have to provide a loan guarantee but apparently isn't being asked for a huge amount of cash. The city of Toronto says it doesn't have any money to kick in but will support the venture. It would help the city host some of the games for the men's under-21 World Cup soccer tourney in 2007 or the 2011 women's World Cup.

When the plan was first unveiled, the price tag was put at roughly $100 million, including a 25,000- to 30,000-seat stadium, running track, a retail strip along Bloor St. West, and a new Varsity Arena with two ice pads, one of which would be used by the Leafs, who were said to be ponying up $40 million. The new plan is said to be worth about $80 million and will have only one ice rink at a renovated Varsity Arena.

The Argos, who would like to use the new stadium in 2006, are said to be getting antsy about the project.

"They have to get a shovel in the ground," said a source close to the negotiations. "The timeline here is very, very tight." The Argos have said they'll consider a site at York University if they can't get a stadium built at the U of T.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...